Friday, June 12, 2020

Opening Old Sealed Games

This isn't even a Nerd World Problems article. This is just me angry about something.

I saw something the other day that inspired me to write this. Apparently there's a guy on YouTube (I'm not going to say his name) who is buying factory sealed games and opening them up on camera. At least one person commented on what he was doing and I couldn't agree with them more. They commented, "This is horrible. What in the world would inspire someone to destroy a game that's been kept in this condition for 30 years? Why? Why would anyone do this?"

The guy running the channel, responded. "To play it. As was intended."

Ah, the old "games are meant to be played" comeback. Not all games. Not all games are meant to be played, and this argument is tired and one of the dumbest points I've heard people make. Just because something can be done with something doesn't mean it should. Coins are meant to be spent. Should numismatists spend their coin collection? Stamps are meant to be mailed. Should philatelists lick their stamps and mail a letter with them? Oh, but in both of those cases you no longer have the collected item, unlike an opened video game. Okay, comic books are meant to be read. Should comic book collectors crack a CGC slabbed comic and read it? I'll go ahead and answer that for you: Absolutely not. You want to read that comic? Buy an opened copy.

These things aren't alive. You're not hurting their feelings by not opening them. Games aren't sitting on shelves thinking about how they've never fulfilled their purpose of being played.

The guy running the channel took a screenshot of that exchange, and then Tweeted, "I'm not sure how opening a sealed game is destroying it."

It absolutely is. 100%. You're altering its state. It's a sealed game, and you're taking that state away from it. There are only so many copies of that game in existence, and there are an extremely finite number of those games that are still factory sealed. Removing it from the factory seal is unequivocally destroying it. You can do with it what you want when you buy it, but you can't sit there and pretend like you don't understand why people would cringe at seeing you destroy something like that on camera. And yes, destroy. You are destroying it.

I have sealed PlayStation 2 games on my shelf that I will never open. If I want to play that particular game, I'll buy another copy that's already open. And he's not just cracking open PlayStation 2 games. No, no he's cracking open Sega Genesis games, too. To be fair, though, it appears like he's mainly opening sports games for the Genesis. However, sports games are worth next to nothing, and taking a sealed sports game (which is a unique and interesting piece on its own) and opening it up making it just another dime a dozen game, is in itself rage inducing. And I don't even like sports games. But a sealed game is a sealed game, and you're destroying it. "Check out this factory sealed copy of NBA Jam" is a lot more interesting than "Check out this copy of NBA Jam."

This guy goes on to say, "Opening new games is about recreating the personal experience from when the games were in stores." Yeah, a PlayStation 2 game has a really unique feel that I totally get you'd want to re-experience. Are you kidding me? "As well as having a copy that's pure and hasn't been played by anyone else." What does that even mean? Pure? Someone is going to sully your game because they played it before you? By your own admission, games are meant to be played, so it sounds like your sentient game has already been told by someone it's unique and special. You should be all for someone playing games before you. This is asinine.

Never mind the value of sealed vs unsealed. Not even factoring that in, you're still taking something that has a finite existence and deliberately making less of them.

Look, the guy who is doing this seems like a nice guy. He's not doing this to get a rise out of people and make them angry. It just so happens that it has raised some eyebrows, myself included. I do not agree with any of his points and I absolutely do not think that these old games should be opened. I've tried watching some of his content, but when he starts tearing into a $100+ unique piece and turning it into a $10 game, I'm out.

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